‘One-China policy is non-negotiable’

Beijing warns Trump against deviating from established position, says bilateral ties could be at risk

December 12, 2016 10:28 pm | Updated 10:28 pm IST - BEIJING:

Sovereignty question:  The ‘One-China policy’ underscores recognition of China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. Picture shows a protest in Taiwan against a meeting in 2015 between the leaders of Taiwan and China.

Sovereignty question: The ‘One-China policy’ underscores recognition of China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. Picture shows a protest in Taiwan against a meeting in 2015 between the leaders of Taiwan and China.

China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday warned that any change in the U.S.’s one-China policy will impair ties between Beijing and Washington.

“Upholding the ‘one China’ principle is the political basis for developing China-U.S. ties. If this basis is interfered with or damaged, then the healthy development of China-U.S. relations and bilateral cooperation in important areas is out of the question,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing on Monday.

Trump’s statement

Mr. Geng was responding to a spate of queries following a Sunday interview on Fox News by President-elect Donald Trump, where he questioned the U.S.’s persistence with the one-China policy, unless there were concessions from Beijing on trade and other issues.

“I don’t know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Mr. Trump said.

He also blamed China for devaluing its currency, and not cooperating with Washington on North Korea and the South China Sea.

The one-China policy underscores recognition of China’s sovereignty over Taiwan — a position that has been held by the U.S. since 1979.

“China has noted the report and expresses serious concern about it. I want to stress that the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and involves China’s core interests,” Mr. Geng said.

Earlier, an editorial in the Global Times newspaper, affiliated with the Communist Party of China, asserted that the one-China policy was non-negotiable. It rebuked the U.S. President-elect for being “as ignorant as a child in terms of foreign policy”.

Taking back Taiwan

The daily warned that Beijing would have no reason to “put peace above using force to take back Taiwan” if Mr. Trump retracted from the policy, in place since 1979.

The one-China policy “is not something that can be negotiated... It seems Trump knows only about business. He thinks he can put a price on everything”, Global Times said.

“At that time [after Trump abandons the one-China policy]... mainland China will put forward a series of decisive new Taiwan policies. We will prove that the United States no longer dominates the Taiwan Strait.”

The daily counselled Mr. Trump to “study foreign affairs humbly”.

“He particularly needs to learn what the relationship between China and U.S. is about.”

Some Chinese academics point out that Mr. Trump’s remarks were not driven by his inexperience in foreign policy.

“It appears that the remarks were made quite deliberately. Perhaps, Mr. Trump and his team want to make a deal with China, based on the Taiwan issue. But China, cannot make any deal, which questions its sovereignty over Taiwan,” Liu Zongyi of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies told The Hindu .

Reuters quoted Wang Yiwei, an international relations professor at Beijing’s Renmin University, as saying Mr. Trump was possibly using the Taiwan issue to try and strike a bargain with China over trade. “He wants to get the best possible trade deal with China he can so that he can boost the U.S. economy.”

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